Immigration Reform - Amnesty is most Pragmatic Choice


Nov 10, 2004
The essay that follows will shock many conservatives but as a fellow conservative I ask you to read it carefully and consider my proposal from a fiscal conservative point of view.

Dealing with the reality of the Immigration Issue

“Sending them home would end crime in this country.” Many of the posters here would heartily endorse this sentiment as applied to unwanted immigrants. Many conservative readers and Townhall columnists agree that since “they fill our prisons and our poor houses,” the immigrants need to go back. The only answer to the immigration issue is to close the doors and keep them all out. I wonder just how many would realize that they would be endorsing the view of the Chicago Post regarding the Irish during the 19th Century. I would have hoped that Conservatives would have left such anachronistic thinking behind them in the 21st Century.

The moment anyone begins to speak on immigration reform, the first cry from the right is “No amnesty!” Any measure that does not call for the wholesale removal or threat of removal of the illegal immigrants here is viewed with disdain. Compromise is not an option for those who want to keep America “pure.” I guess I better pack my bags and book a flight for Dublin since my ancestors were the dirty Irish, reviled in the same manner as the “illegal” immigrant is today.

The “Anti-Amnesty” crowd can offer no real solution to the problem. I thought that those claiming to be Republican did not approve of criticism without solutions…(What was that Democratic Agenda again?) The very notion that we should undertake the mass deportation of more than 12 million illegal immigrants from the country is totally ridiculous. It would be a waste of tax dollars and other resources and would end up costing more to the economy than what is taken up by the illegals.

Waiting for an illegal immigrant to do something and be noticed by the government, and then summarily deported is no solution either. It does nothing to document exactly who is living and working in the United States. It does nothing to protect the workforce from illegal employment. It does nothing to add immigrant workers to the tax rolls. Wait and see is not a strategy, it is a copout.

Building a fence or pouring more money into increasing border patrols is still not a solution to the problem. It does nothing about the immigrants already here in the country nor does it significantly increase the risk enough to outweigh the rewards for crossing the border into the United States. The Berlin Wall did not stop escape from the U.S.S.R., a fence is not going to stop entry of those willing to risk death for a chance at a life in America.

A real solution to the immigration issue must address several factors for it to be effective. It will not be one that addresses the childish adherence many conservatives have to their sense of “what is just and right.” Republicans must be willing to accept that their cheese is going to be moved if there is to be a solution. A paradigm shift will be required. Just remember that true justice and fairness has nothing to do with equal treatment. It means doing what must be done when faced with the reality of a situation.

To solve the immigration issue, it must address the following issues: the status of current illegal immigrants, the insurmountable barriers of existing immigration laws, employment of illegal immigrants, and the enforcement of any new immigration laws. There are certainly other factors affecting this issue such as foreign economic development initiatives but those are better addressed separately since they involve issues beyond our illegal immigration problem. One must keep in mind that understanding the causes of the problem is the first step to solving it or one is left with actions that only address the symptoms of the problem.

First and foremost, the solution must legalize the presence of all immigrants currently working in the United States. Anything less will undermine any further efforts to control immigration. Illegal immigrants are not simply going to volunteer to be deported. However, a chance at legal recognition would be enough of an incentive for them to be registered. Once identified, it makes it much easier to keep track of immigrants. Any changes to our current immigration laws would need to make it far more rewarding to come forward and registering as opposed to avoiding government registration.

After addressing how to handle our current illegal immigrants, we must examine the reason why they came here in the first place and why they choose to do it illegally. The answer is very simple; America is a prosperous country.

Even in the face of increasing government interference in the free market, the United States is still offers the most chances of economic success. Whether one is a migrant worker, office professional, or entrepreneur, careful investment and saving can give one opportunities to lead a good life. Considering the situation outside of our borders, how can we fault anyone for wanting to immigrate to the United States?

It is human nature to strive to achieve one’s goals, no matter the odds or obstacles. If people want to get into the United States bad enough, they will find a way. Currently, the path of least resistance is to illegally cross the border. Enforcement is a joke and there is little chance of detection and deportation once across. Even if a military presence was established with barriers, dogs, and orders to shoot on sight, risking death for the slimmest chance of success still gives better odds to many of the illegals than attempting to navigate the murky waters of our current immigration system. So to stop the illegal crossing, the legal means by which to enter the country must become the path of least resistance.

To accomplish this, the immigration process must be streamlined to the point where one can be employed and living in the United States within 24 hours. Given the communication technology available in the 21st Century, there is little reason for the process to take longer. To become a documented worker, an immigrant should be required to submit fingerprints, voiceprint, retinal scans and a DNA sample, be given a physical examination, and receive a photographic ID card. A criminal background check would also be conducted by the veracity would be dependent on International resources so the results would be questionable. Far more useful would be the collection of physical data to establish official records in the United States to make future identification possible.

The notion that unrestricted immigration would spell doom and disaster for the United States has no more merit or credence now than it did in the 19th century. If there is a concern over immigrants flooding the Federal welfare system and state social support systems, the answer is to reform those systems to minimize the impact of the immigrants. Once again, the same accusations were made against the Irish and almost every other group of immigrants since. The dire predictions of doom did not come true then and will not now.

It is also quite ironic for any Republican or conservative to be supporting protectionist tactics that limit available labor. To claim that immigration should be limited to force corporations to raise wages high enough to draw native applicants is no different that fixing the price of sugar or steel to protect jobs. If one truly believes in a free market, labor must be included in the mix.

The major attraction currently drawing illegal immigrants into the United States is the availability of jobs. Unless Americans change their hypocritical behavior of complaining about illegal immigrants while still patronizing businesses that utilize illegal labor, the attraction will never diminish. Tough draconian laws must be put into place and enforced to make the risk to business far outweigh the reward of employing undocumented workers. Government seizure and auction of assets would be a strong enough deterrent to make it unprofitable to use illegal labor.

If the preceding steps were taken, enforcement of border security becomes a much easier task. If there were more immigrants taking advantage of a streamlined entry process, there would be far fewer attempting to enter the country illegally. In fact, border patrol would be more likely to catch terrorists, drug runners, and other criminals since an immigrant just wanting employment would have less incentive to enter illegally. It is human nature to follow the law when it is the easiest thing to do leaving only those with something to hide avoiding official entry.

Overall, illegal immigration is an issue that can be solved but the solution is not going to be a simple one that makes everyone happy. We must accept the fact that people the world over still view America as the land of opportunity and they want to immigrate. We must trust that free market forces will help to stabilize entry if the open jobs are all filled. We must have faith that immigrants who become citizens will treasure the same values and customs that made them want to come to America. Anything less that what I have offered here will do nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

As a reward for those who have sought to immigrate legally to the Unites States, provided that they have no criminal record in the US or any allies, they would be granted a permanent work visa, regardless of current status. Citizenship paperwork for these individuals would be expedited.
I'm Irish and my people were pigs and thieves! That is a fact does't that mean I'm not proud of my hertiage? I'm proud and I'm glad I didn't suffer from the potato famine back then. We suffered a different deal with the brits in the early 1970's. We all were in the IRA and we were on hit list. But my point on immigration is I'm not against legal immigrants, never have been. I'm against our goverenments role in this speaking out the side of the mouth policy going on. We need to revert our policies now and be forth coming on border security.

Here is a clip that I thought pretty basic and enlightening and look at the people in audience. This isn't rocket science or some impossible plan. Our government should really view this as other nations view it and how they keep there borders tighter and secure.

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